Valentine’s Day equals Mandarin Ducks

There is so much hate! Violence against women and children has increased during the pandemic and various lockdowns. There is so much road rage. I wrote about this in my blogpost on the pandemic and on how artists stay well balanced in a world that seems to resort to aggression and depression. Because of this excess of bad temper, hate and depression is important to celebrate Valentine’s Day joyously. We all know that Valentine’s Day is a bit silly, commercially driven, and for the young.

Yet, this year is different. We have not seen our friends for ages. why not send a kind card to all your friends? There is no need to limit card sending to your lover, crush or best friend. We could spread Valentine’s cards like Christmas cards. With sending a card you are saying so much; you are saying that you thought about somebody. That thought made you buy a card. You sat down to put an address on its envelope. Even without a splendid text, you show setting some time apart for making a person realize that he/she is special to you. Add to it your name or a short text, and the message of friendship, bonding or love is sledgehammer clear.

‘Oh, that is nice!’

‘Oh, look at the card from …’

‘How kind!’

Everybody’s heart will make a little jump when being confronted with a bit of unexpected kindness. Especially in pandemic times when people, collectively, suffer from anxiety, cabin-fever, stir-craziness and easily lose their equilibrium. There is nothing wrong with a bit of extra attention and love. And the beautiful thing about mandarin ducks is that they symbolize love and friendship. Like doves and swans (ignore that ornithologists have observed a bit of adultery among these sweethearts).

Mandarin ducks melt our hearts because of their background story on their life long partnership, their cute colours and shapes, and their adorable ducklings.

Paula Kuitenbrower

At Etsy

At Linktree

At Instagram

Mandarin Ducks

Colourful mandarin duck watercolour paintings have been added to my Etsy shop.

The large composition consisting of an Asian landscape, a lotus pond, a turtle pond, and mandarin ducks was lovely to make. I felt inspired to make it after visiting the Volkenkundig Museum in Leiden, where I enjoyed the Asian department. As always, I was charmed by how Asian artist harmoniously combine natural and abstract representations of their surroundings.

Stay safe & take care.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

At Etsy

Lovely Mandarin ducks resting in a lotus filled duck pond. In the front a traditional, Korean duck couple.

Forest Scene: Mandarin Ducks Resting on a River Bank

The mandarin ducks (Aix galericulata) have carefully chosen a place to rest. They seems to blend in with the dark background, thus if necessary, they will respond quickly by taking to the waters and thus escape predators. The river is calm, the forest is rich in sounds and smells, and all is well. The reflection of the lovely couple is visible in the calm water. Birds are flying over. 

The duck and drake have just decided to take a rest and have already positioned themselves on the bank. The duck is checking the left, the drake checks the right, if all feels safe they will soon tuck their bills into their wings and take a nap. After that they will look for food again, synchronized as they are. They are life long partners, like swans. In Asia mandarin ducks represent love and loyalty. On the photos of this drawing, you will notice a few wooden ducks. They are used, in Asia, like drawings, prints and paintings, to enhance feelings of love and loyalty in homes and rooms between couples. Seeing bonding ducks, seeing how synchronised they are, makes people long for a deep belonging, a deep bond between lovers.

This is a softly rendered graphite drawing. On my Etsy home page and Instagram you can watch a video of the making of this drawing. I have done many Mandarin duck commissions for homes, weddings, engagements, stationary, or meditation/sleeping rooms. Contact me should you have specific wishes regarding a mandarin duck drawing. Also, have a look at my shop where you will find mandarin duck mini-prints, cards, and full colour drawings. May I advise to have a full colour drawing of mandarin ducks in a monochromatic coloured room and a softly rendered graphite drawing in a colourful room?

Artist information: Derwent graphite H-series pencils on Arches hot press paper 31-41 cm. Winsor & Newton Varnish Spray.

Ornithological information: Although Mandarin ducks are Asian ducks, Dutch park and estate owners buy these ducks to add some bright colours to their duck ponds or castle moats. Mandarin ducks then need nesting facilities because in nature they breed inside tree cavities. They seem to do well in Dutch weather. I am very lucky to have spotted them nearby my home town. One thinks that they stand out splendidly, but I can assure you that even the very colourful drake often seems to blend in its surroundings perfectly.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

@mindfulfdrawing on Instagram (video  link)

Etsy (for video watching scroll down till ‘About Paula Kuitenbrouwer’

www.mindfuldrawing.com

mindfuldrawing@gmail.com